The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Belated Bede Day Post

I missed the feast day of one of my favorites, the Venerable Bede. My favorite passage:
[Edwin, the king of Northumbria, urged by his Christian wife Ethelberga, and by the bishop Paulinus,] answered that he was both willing and bound to receive the new faith which the bishop taught, but that he wished, nevertheless, to confer about it with his principal friends and counselors, to the end that, if they also were of his opinion, they might all be cleansed together in Christ, the Fount of Life. Paulinus consenting, the king did as he said; for holding a council with the wise men, he asked of every one in particular what he thought of the new doctrine and the new worship that was preached.


Another of the king's chief men, approving of Coifi's words and exhortations, presently added: " The present life man, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter amid your officers and ministers, with a good fire in the midst whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door and immediately another, whilst he is within is safe from the wintry but after a short space of fair weather he immediately vanishes out of your sight into the dark winter from which he has emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space but of what went before or what is to follow we are ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.'
A beautiful evocation of the transitory and contingent nature of life, that makes me think of this marvelous version of a beautiful and profound song:

Happy Bede Day, even if late.

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